by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer
Three juveniles arrested in home burglaries have been tied to at least nine of the 20 reported, said Sheriff's Detective Dave Legros.
The 12-, 15- and 16-year-old boys have been in juvenile custody since their arrests on Jan. 23.
Legros said over the past few weeks, more victims have come forward, and others didn't even know they'd been burglarized until an officer questioned them.
"I did a canvas in the area and I left my business card and some people called back and some didn't," he said. "I went to one house that the kids actually pointed out to me, and I knocked on the door and said, 'Hey, you've been burglarized,' and the guy said, 'No I haven't,' and I said, 'I've got your picture here on this camera.'
"He didn't even realize he was burglarized and recovered a good deal of jewelry and his father's ring that dated to 1933."
Legros said the trio would knock on the door to determine if anyone was home, then when they were certain the place was empty, they'd enter through an unlocked door or window. In one instance they broke a side window. Those homeowners returned from vacation last week and reported the incident to police.
Legros said the boys were looking for laptops and jewelry - small enough items that they could carry out. At least two homes reported guns stolen. Legros said the juveniles told investigators they dumped them in a specific location, but when that area was searched by officers and Search and Rescue crews, no guns were found.
Because of the age of the burglars, they will likely only spend a year in a juveniles facility.
"There are a lot of people who never recovered anything. Some people don't want to go back to their house now because they don't feel comfortable in their own homes," said Legros. "The only saving grace is that we caught the people doing it. These three juveniles have affected a lot of people's lives."
• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at email@example.com or 881-1213.